Editorial: Stick to the rules

Even though this year’s Student Association election is over, the Joint Elections Committee continues its work in investigating alleged violations by both candidates involved in the run-off. Both Ben Traverse and the winner of the presidential runoff, Audai Shakour, racked up campaign violations during the regular election and moved closer to the seven-vote threshold for removal during the run-off period.

Most average students can agree that the initial violations incurred by both candidates were trivial. In fact, allegations concerning campaign Web sites, Facebook groups and other petty issues occupied the JEC’s time for almost a month. During that period, this page argued that the JEC should focus on bigger picture issues that would ensure a fair election that GW students can feel confident about. In the final days of the run-off election serious violations – such as dorm storming on election day – allegedly occurred. Though the JEC has been derided for its obsession with procedure and formality in dealing with these minor issues, it is imperative that the committee stays consistent even after the election in investigating major violations that could have affected the outcome of the run-off.

It would be easy for the JEC to simply dismiss all charges now that the election is over. However, if serious violations – basically on par with electioneering – did occur, the JEC must act to rectify the situation. The extremely low voter turnout in this election means that if one candidate played by the rules while another sent his friends into the dorms to campaign on election day, the outcome of the election could have been changed and should be considered invalid.

For all the blunders and infighting that permeated this election season, the JEC must rise above petty student politics and make this investigation about the rules. In an election decided by only 29 votes, the committee must have the courage to follow the rules – even if their findings result in the expulsion of a presumptive president-elect.

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